Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Stout for the Summer

Summer is about Belgians and spicy blondes and lighter pale ales. It's not about dark beers . . . at least I thought so until I stopped by Breckenridge Brewery tonight.

There I discovered the Thunder Stout, the newest in the small-batch series that already has produced the magnificently hoppy 471 IPA. I don't normally get stouts in the hot months, but it was Breck's, so I thought it was worth a try.

What I found was a beer with a thick head, incredibly creamy body and the kind of light, silky nitro-tap sensation that takes you by surprise when you're not expecting it. A wonderfully easy beer, it had the smooth body of a session beer but an approachable and yet still filling character that didn't reek of unique flavor so much as it screamed of gentle happiness.

The exact taste was elusive - was it a mellow oatmeal body or did I sense just a touch of the vanilla overtones that mark the brewery's porter? - but it was seductively light and pleasing. Yes, I'll still order the 471 IPA first when I go back, as I did tonight, but at least I know there is something surprising waiting for me after I've finished that.

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While I've been holding off on stouts this time of year, I am looking forward to diving back into them. Near 100 degree heat seems to dampen my taste for the dark brew. You've discovered a nice new brew. I haven't seen that on their web site yet. Will be worth a visit to Breck to find some of that. I'm a big fan of their Vanilla Porter
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